2014 County Softball Preview: North still strong


North Davidson shortstop Haley Pace makes a sliding effort to catch a Southeast Guilford hit ball that fell in for a single during their fourth-round state 4-A playoff game last season at Southeast Guilford. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)


Here is a look at the softball teams from across the county this season:



North Davidson

Conference: Central Piedmont 4-A

Last season: 26-3, lost in fourth round of 4-A playoffs

Key losses: Mackenzie Hauser, Eliza Davis

Top returners: Haley Pace, Sierra Vanzant, Casey Stanek, Maddison Everhart, Katie Taylor, Rebecca Perrell

Key newcomers: Carson Pace, Teresa Dixon, Tristan Fulton

Coach Mike Lambros says: “Work hard as we always try to and compete for a championship.”



Ledford

Conference: Mid-Piedmont 3-A

Last season: 15-10, second in the MPC, lost in first round of 3-A playoffs

Key losses: Ashley Best, Meg Everhart

Top returners: Jessie Hayworth, Destiny DeBerry, Mackenzie Cranford, Megan Hayworth, Mary Davis, Erin Crotts, Madison Tinkle, Bayleigh Griffith, Sandra-Anne Kernodle

Key newcomers: Abbey Crews, Grace Holland, Nicole Lethco, Brinley Irvin

Coach Charlie Brown says: “The players and the coaching staff expect to try and compete for a conference championship along with SW Randolph, Southern Guilford, Asheboro, Central Davidson, and Western Guilford. After being knocked out of the first round of the playoffs last year, the players and coaching staff feel that competing for a conference championship and making a longer run in the state playoffs would be a success for this team.”



Central Davidson

Conference: Mid-Piedmont 3-A

Last season: 13-12 overall, tied for Central Carolina Conference regular-season championship with East Davidson

Top returners: Josie Jones, Alyson Warfford, Rachel Lewis, Kylie Ward, Mackenzie Comer

Key newcomers: Cameron Greene, Rebekah Cope, Brittany Woodard, Emily Brown, Cassie Fortner, Kaitlyn Copley, Paige Simpson

Coach Brittney Taylor says: “Central Davidson is facing a new challenge this year with many newcomers having to now play at a higher level of competition. Central’s hoping to finish at the top of the conference and many young players stepping up to play many key positions. With it being my first year as a head varsity coach, I think the girls have responded well. Every day I see improvements and honestly I think they will pay off in the long run. I couldn’t be happier with the hard work these ladies continue to show and I can not wait to see what our season will become.”



West Davidson

Conference: Central Carolina 2-A

Last season: 10-11 overall, 6-4 CCC, lost in first round of 2-A playoffs

Coach Nick Slate says: “We have additions from last year’s team with a few looking to have an impact at the plate or on the bases. Our expectations for this year are to improve upon last year’s record and to compete for the conference title with a focus on solid defense and limiting defensive mistakes.”



East Davidson

Conference: Central Carolina 2-A

Last season: 9-1 CCC (shared conference title with Central Davidson, won conference tournament), lost in third round of 2-A playoffs

Key losses: Morgan Gallimore, Haley Ray, Natalie Naturile

Top returners: Andrea Grant, Bailey Jones, Brooklyn Hopkins, Brooke Walser, Morgan Key

Coach Amanda Akins says: “We are a young, but large team this season. We have no seniors this year, but I am carrying 19 girls. I expect these girls to work hard every day to become conference champions again this season as well as build upon their strengths and weaknesses to help carry us deep into playoffs.”



South Davidson

Conference: Yadkin Valley 1-A

Last season: 5-18 overall, 3-16 YVC

Key losses: Kelsey Martin, Taylor Hedrick

Top returners: Danielle Hunt, Tiffany Ferrell, Serena Sink, Megan Hogeland

Key newcomers: Savannah Stevenson, Kaitlyn Redmon, Sydney Honeycutt, Carson Crowe

Coach Corbie Causey says: “This year’s team should be much improved with eight returning players and six promising first-year girls. The focus during winter workouts and early season practices has been on improving our defense and overall work habits. Our pitching will be key in our success. With the coaching staff we have it allows us to work on multiple parts of the game at the same time and the improvement is already showing in practices. The girls are excited and working hard.”